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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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" I am instructed by Mr. Molotov to inform you of the following facts:
" For active subversive work against the Soviet Union and assistance to
Polish intelligence organs in armed activities, Erlich and Alter were
sentenced to capital punishment in August, 1941.
" At the request of the Polish Government, Erlich and Alter were released
in September,, 1941.
" However, after they were set free, at the time of the most desperate
battles of the Soviet troops against the advancing Hitler army, they resumed
theur hostile activities, including appeals to the Soviet troops to stop blood-
shed and immediately to conclude peace with Germany.
" For this they were re-arrested and, in December, 1942, sentenced once
more to capital punishment by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court.
This sentence has been carried out in regard to both of them."
Yours sincerely,
Ambassador Maxim Litvinov.
Erlich and Alter had been born in Poland and were Polish citizens.
The Soviet Government had released them at the request of the Polish
Government, which was proof in itself that the Soviet authorities had not
then questioned their rights to Polish citizenship. It must also be
stressed that, until January 26th, 1942., rhe Soviet Government had
expressed no doubts whatever as to the Polish citizenship of Erlich and
Alter. It was only on that date that the Narkomindel had surprised the
Polish Embassy by returning the Polish passport of Erlich with a covering
note to say that he was a Soviet citizen. On March i6th, 1942, the
Narkomindel again sent a Note to the Embassy in which they
claimed that Erlich and Alter were both Soviet citizens. All protests
made by the Polish Embassy were in vain.
Until they were re-arrested on the 4th of December, 1941, they had
been lodged first in Moscow by the Soviet authorities, and afterwards in
Kuibyshev in the Intourist Hotel for foreigners. It was a well-known
fact that any persons lodged in those Intourist hotels were closely watched
by agents of the Soviet Secret Police.
It is evident that they had never been really free from surveillance
while on the territory of Soviet Russia and consequently they could not
have carried on any subversive action against the Soviet Government,
even if it could be assumed—a suggestion, which is merely absurd-—
that these men had suddenly changed their ideas and turned pro-Hitler,
at that very moment when their country was under Hitler's rule. Neither,
for the same reason, could they have had any opportunity as the Soviet
authorities had alleged, of making appeals to the Soviet troops. " Erlich
and Alter had devoted the whole of their energies and activities, during
the short period between their release and re-arrest, to a task whose
object had been very opposite to that with which they were charged."
That Erlich and Alter were downright Socialists was beyond question,